Holidays a time to discover ND treatsGRAND FORKS — If the Swedish meatballs show up on the menu at Thompson’s Café in Cavalier over the holidays, don’t dawdle about getting your order in.
By: Chuck Haga , The Dickinson Press
GRAND FORKS — If the Swedish meatballs show up on the menu at Thompson’s Café in Cavalier over the holidays, don’t dawdle about getting your order in.
“When we run them, we usually run out,” said Daryl Thompson, the café owner. “They’re tasty.”
Thompson’s Swedish meatballs apparently caught the attention of someone at the North Dakota Tourism office, which includes the café in a list of places to find “North Dakota food, fun, outdoor activities and cultural celebrations” for the holidays.
Especially food. Especially ethnic food.
“You know it’s the holiday season when you see varenyky, lefse, kuchen, pfeffernusse, springerle cookies and krumkake on the table,” the tourism folks declared in a news release.
“These North Dakota favorites remind us of celebrations growing up and can be found locally without doing all the work.”
Acknowledging that any such listing will leave out some local or regional favorites, they recommend Freddy’s Lefse in Fargo, Lapp’s Bakery in Hebron, the Ukrainian Culture Institute in Dickinson, Magic Morsels in Minot or Patisserie on Fourth in Bismarck.
“Obviously, there are a lot more options,” Sara Otte Coleman, state tourism director, said in an interview. “This is just to give a sampling and get people headed down the road.”
To Cavalier, for example, where Thompson’s Café is cited as one of the state’s “places to dine Scandinavian style.”
Daryl Thompson, who has been at the café for 32 years, is Scandinavian-modest about his café’s meatballs, even though his ethnicity is “English, Irish, Scottish and a little Pennsylvania Dutch.”
“It’s a basic meatball, our own recipe,” he said. “We’ll do Swedish meatballs on a Sunday and sometimes as a daily special.
“We’re an Icelander area here, and there are some Norwegians around, and they like the meatballs. My brother is married to a full Norwegian, and they do the lefse thing. We don’t do that right now.”
For lefse — and lutefisk — the tourism guide recommends the Northside Café in Grand Forks.
The guide also cites places where one may find “German cuisines,” including varenyky, or “cheese buttons,” at the Four Corners Café in Belfield, “a mean fleischkuechle” at Frieds Family Restaurant in Mandan, and “knoephla soup and fried dough” at Kroll’s Diner in Fargo and Bismarck.
“The fried dough is pretty much what it says — dough that’s fried,” said Rick Jaeger, manager of the Fargo Kroll’s Diner. “It’s sort of like elephant ears, and it’s served with cinnamon or sugar, or some people like it with honey.”
Knoephla soup is “a few onions, a few potatoes and a lot of dumplings in a creamed chicken broth,” Jaeger said. “We sell gallons and gallons of it.”
Haga is a reporter for the Grand Forks Herald, which is owned by Forum Communications Co.